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Inheritance of Hope

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services, Human Services

Mission: To inspire hope in young families facing the loss of a parent.

Results: Families from 48 states have experienced life-changing Inheritance of Hope programs.

Target demographics: young families facing the loss of a parent.

Geographic areas served: USA

Programs: Serving families facing the loss of a parent in 3 life-changing ways: (1) ONLINE: Hope@Home™ Weekend - memory-making event where your family can connect with other families who “get it” -- all from the comfort of home (2) ON-SITE: Legacy Retreats® - destination experience where families create lifelong memories and receive the tools to navigate the challenges of terminal illness (3) ON-GOING: Hope@Home™ Groups and more - monthly groups for all ages to gain resources and connect in community with people who understand your situation

Community Stories

393 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is such a loving, faith-promoting, thoughtful and fun organization that I just can't say enough about! Our family was served by the kindest volunteers and friendliest staff. Our retreat included a fun-filled weekend of connecting with our children as well as other families at a beautiful resort in Orlando, FL. Thank you IOH, we are honored to be part of your family!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you for Inheritance of Hope for allowing us to make such great memories. It was great to see what this weekend did for our family, my children smiled from ear to ear the entire weekend. I am forever grateful for the love I felt this weekend and will cherish the memories made. Thank you for all that you do Inheritance of Hope.

Josh G.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Experience of a lifetime with my family in the wake of some of life's most difficult challenges. Thank you for your love and care.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was connected with IoH by the palliative care team at the hospital the day my husband passed away from cancer. I participate in the Life After Loss group and have found the group of people that truly understand what I am going through. The support and comfort from this group has helped so much and I am so grateful for the connection with IoH.

Russell12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to serve families at a number of retreats. The desire to serve these families is amazing and the professionalism in the planning and execution of the plan is unsurpassed. It is a privilege to participate in this organization.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at 3 of the Legacy retreats and have helped in other ways. Every decision and every step that IOH takes is done with great thought and planning and done in a way to use its finances with the utmost care. The needs of the families are always paramount in the way decisions are made and the way IOH goes about its business.

It is a privilege to volunteer in such an organization and to serve these families.

Cathfinch

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family has been a part of IOH for about a year, and in that year we have experienced love and support while we endure a very difficult cancer journey. We attended a Hope at Home event in February of 2021. This weekend was a blessing to our family as we got to make memories and share special moments together in the midst of a life-threatening illness. I also have enjoyed the ongoing support of the Hope at Home groups offered, and seeing relevant information and perspectives shared on the IOH website has been helpful, as well. I feel that all the staff and volunteers at IOH are very compassionate and kind, and strive to maximize each donation to reach people who need love and support during a challenging season of their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is truly a special place to volunteer. From the moment I learned about this organization and expressed interest, I was pursued and invited in with such warmth and intentionality. I was sent a copy of the co-founder's book so I could read her story. This only fueled my passion for the mission and vision of this incredible organization. I was also sent a welcome box which immediately made me feel like part of the team.
Virtual connections have never felt so personal. I feel so connected to people all across the country. I am so thankful for Inheritance of Hope and the way they run towards those who are hurting with open arms...ready to love on them, support them, and connect them to each other. I truly can't say enough good things about this GREAT non-profit.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope (IoH) means the world to me. Our family was served in 2018 with my late husband, who was braving a battle with ALS at the time. Fast forward through our eventual loss and the pandemic, and IoH has become an immense source of emotional support through the "Life After Loss" grief support group.

The thing that has always stuck out at me with IoH is the incredible staff and volunteer base they have -- it's robust and full of people with passion for the cause, compassion for the people they serve and an abundance of resources to help families dealing with the imminent loss of a parent.

I am blessed to have been served and now blessed to be a part of the volunteer crew as a support group facilitator and coach for legacy videos (special video messages recorded by the diagnosed parent to share with children and spouses). Any experience with IoH is life changing and meaningful!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family just experienced the February 2022 Hope@Home weekend. It was an amazing experience to spend the weekend getting to know other young families facing a terminal diagnosis.
This weekend has given us new connections and tools for this difficult journey. Thank you for helping us be intentional to leave a legacy for our boys!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope has been just what my family needed during our ALS journey. On top of the incredible retreat, the constant support is irreplaceable. I am able to join others on the same journey as myself, each week via Zoom. My children are also able to join other kids walking their same road on a weekly basis online as well. Every now and then, they hold reunion events where we can connect with people from our retreat and also new friends on our same journey. The encouragement and support in making a Legacy video was so positive! Every family, facing an illness or not, should have one! Family game night and worship hour are my favorite parts of IoH weekends!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with GBM back in July of 2017. GBM is considered a terminal diagnosis, in that it cannot be cured. As a mother with an almost 2 year old girl and a wife who had been married 5 years, this was incredibly devastating news. Add in the master's degree I had been paying off, the career I had been working hard to establish, and the possibility of potentially being disabled or unemployed in the near future - it was almost too much to bear.

I had been surviving, thankfully with no 'deficits' (meaning no hearing or sight issues, balance issues, and no seizures, etc.) and working full-time for many years before finding Inheritance of Hope. I heard about IOH through a mother of one of my children's friends through daycare. She had been (and is still) battling metastatic breast cancer. I found that I could talk to my coworkers, family and friends about my GBM diagnosis and journey, but couldn't find true understanding and comraderie. It was difficult to figure out what to do with 'normal' life, family stuff and planning long-term. Do I figure out all of my funeral planning and expenses now? What do I do with my 401k, how do I want to be remembered? The list went on, with no answers. All heavy stuff with no real guidance for a young 'healthy' woman with a terminal diagnosis.

I am so thankful that IOH is there to support young families in this situation. As a young mother, early career professional and the primary earner in our family it's a truly powerful feeling to connect with others who understand what I'm going through. The love I have felt from IOH and those that also have GBM has been truly life changing. I cannot imagine the loneliness if I had to continue struggling through these often conflicting and emotional feelings and decisions on my own.

I love that IOH sponsors and coordinates retreats. We were able to join a virtual one during the pandemic, and have one coming up in March. They let us focus on making memories and building legacy. I love their Hope at Home groups where I'm able to meet with other GBM surviors 3 out of 4 weeks in the month. I love how much their staff truly cares about me and my family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope has found AMAZING ways for people all across the country to stay connected through this global pandemic! I am so blessed to regularly participate in the Young Adult Hope@Home group where I get to meet with people who really understand what I'm going through, as they are walking down a very similar path. I've never felt so connected to a group of people and get so excited to join the zoom call each week! The facilitators of this group bring amazing topics and questions that help us grow in our faith, think about our grief, help us as we learn to 'adult' and so much more. I love having a group of people that I know care for me, pray for me, ask me to pray for them, and can come together even with the thing we have in common be having lost or actively losing our parent. I have nothing but kind words for this organization and the meaningful ministry they provide through Hope@Home groups. All the love!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family was gifted with a retreat back in March 2018 to Orlando. What an amazing time we had as a family getting to know others who were dealing with a terminal illness, whether it be as the one with the disease or the caregiver. The volunteers were amazing, taking care of our every need and they were such an encouragement. In July of 2019 my wife Joni passed away. Life got hectic as an only parent and things got tougher after the COVID shut down happened and my life got dark. But unbeknownst to me IoH was shifting some of their focus to providing caring groups. Boy did this come at the time I needed it most. The group I'm in is the Life After Loss group. This is made up of primarily widows and widowers who have teenage kids or younger and there's some with older kids and some with no kids. We are a group of individuals who get the struggle from moving from caregiver to being alone and/or being an only parent. IoH has been a blessing to me and my family during our toughest times.

Lynne Jordan G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope helped my family connect, adjust and learn how to share our journey with cancer. The retreat and Hope at Home groups are wonderfully curated and speak to each of us, both as a family and as individuals. I don't know what kind of shape my family would be without them.

Donor

Rating: 5

Thank you, Inheritance of Hope for the humbling opportunity to support all your efforts! You are some really amazing people!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The experience that Inheritance of Hope put together for my family was beyond all expectations. The volunteers and staff made us feel like family right from the beginning. Their love radiated through the computer screen. They are truly talented and are wonderful at helping facilitate discussions on extremely difficult topics. Their caring and support was soothing for me and my family. We all benefited from the activities they planned for us and we feel blessed to have made the connection to this charity.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ALS has been a journey those of us that have it and have young children like many other people with terminal illnesses the support for children and parents is not easily found. We were connected to IOH and Hope@Home through the Pandemic. It has been a huge gift. The absolute kindness, support and community of Inheritance of Hope is breathtaking. We participated in Hope@ Home talking with other parents in similar situations, my young daughter participated in children’s activities with children her own age going through the same thing and had a lot of fun. My husband and I we moved by connecting to others in the same situation, the staff our volunteers were wonderful. So many conversations were started and blessed by God to have happened. I was able to make a legacy video. The connection beyond our Hope@Home experience of being served is precious. This Organization is extremely valuable to families during terminal illness of young parents to the families after. Please support IOH and spread Kristen and Deric’s gift ot touches the hearts of so many when other look away

Tracie T.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The tough conversations that our family needed to have were so beautifully and gracefully handled by some of the kindest people we could have hoped for. Exceeded what we hoped for the weekend in every way. We wish we could have been in person, and not virtual, but that is beyond what our world is right now. For a virtual program, you reached right into our hearts with all of the love, guidance, support, and HOPE that we needed. Thank you to the Mulligan family for honoring your wife and mother with your continued journey to serve others. We will carry her story, and yours, with us forever. She lives on. And so will we. Much love!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is truly a special organization. We have been long time supporters and now I have had the privilege of volunteering and coordinating for several retreats, virtual and in-person. I have seen how the work of IoH has impacted the families they serve, both in the short term and long term. The care, expertise and excellence this organization employs to serve families facing a life-threatening illness makes me so grateful to be able to continue to volunteer and support Inheritance of Hope.

Nicole C.12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We love Inheritance of Hope! They served our family so well when my dad had cancer 10 years ago. Our retreat is something my family and I will never forget! My sister and I have come back to serve because Inheritance of Hope made such a big impact in our lives!

Ethan H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If I could describe Inheritance of Hope in one word, it would be COMMUNITY! I joined the Inheritance of Hope volunteer team during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were the first nonprofit I work with to pivot their platforms to a remote medium for accessibility during lockdown. They engineered a new modem to deliver the same inspiring message for families whose needs couldn't be delayed due to a global pandemic. Beyond simply how they served families right after lockdown began, they also created new resources for families that were so successful that their lifespan will far outlive COVID-19. One of these was their incredible Hope@Home support groups. These groups meet weekly and serve all different demographics for those facing the loss of their lives or the loss of a family member due to a terminal illness. I became a facilitator for their teen group and their youth (ages 7-12) group. It has been by far the most meaningful thing I have been able to due with my time as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization. My co-facilitators and I have had deep conversations about a range of topics facing these kids. The most rewarding part has been seeing the kids we work with find a niche group of peers that can relate to the extraordinary circumstances they are up against. Beyond simply the work I've been able to do with Inheritance of Hope, I've been met by a loving community of volunteers and staff members that have become friends for life. As a volunteer, I participate in weekly get-togethers with the Volunteer Coordinator and other volunteers. During this weekly group time, we participate in activities involving fellowship, but we also simply check in with one another. Throughout all of my personal struggles, the Inheritance of Hope volunteer community has been praying for me and guiding me every step of the way. I highly recommend Inheritance of Hope if you are looking for a fun and supportive community to be part of, while also providing hope to others at the same time!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is the best non-profit organization I've personally seen. They serve families with kids that have one of the parents having a terminal illness. They genuinely care for everyone and the love and dedication they have for the families is evident in everything they do. The staff and volunteers are simply wonderful!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization! I was diagnosed with brain cancer last year and found out about this organization through a book I was reading. When I read about the retreats, it sounded too good to be true. I applied and get accepted to the May 2013 retreat. We were nervous about how our kids, which can be more shy, would be around the volunteers and counselors before we went. A call from the counselor before the trip put us more at ease. When we got there, we were so warmly treated and the kids loved their volunteer helpers and counselors! We were treated so well, every need was taken care of by the staff, even our son's allergy needs were carefully taken care of. We had such a wonderful time at the theme parks enjoying our time as a family and meeting the other families going through the same things. The coordinators were amazing, every ran like clockwork, but they don't appear to be stressed at all! We can not more highly recommend this organization.

Nalani Y.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma pancreatic cancer in 2019. (Think Alex Trebek from Jeopardy Cancer) Our family has been through a lot and I was looking for resources to help my kids ages 15, 14, 11, 9 as well as my husband and I. I came across Inheritance of Hope (IoH) as an organization that helps families.
WOW!! We were so incredibly blessed to meet wonderful and caring staff that helped us. Although during Covid, we were able to meet virtually with families across America and participate in family zoom activities as well as individual zoom meeting times for our kids by ages as well as my husband and I. Sometimes you feel alone and it's nice to be connected to individuals who are sharing the same horrible experience, a parent suffering from cancer or other life threatening illness. No longer are we battling "alone" but we are part of the Inheritance of Hope Family as they say.
Inheritance of Hope is all about providing hope and leaving a lasting legacy for my husband and kids. It can do the same for you. You will be given the opportunity to think of meaningful ways to enjoy time with your family, as well as come up with ways of leaving an inheritance and a legacy of hope for your family.
My family and I are truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Inheritance of Hope family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I never knew how much I needed Inheritance of Hope! With my diagnosis of Stage 4 Breast Cancer, to include mets to my brain, I felt like I needed to prepare pictures, videos, and more for my 6-year-old son. I was so lost and someone mentioned Inheritance of Hope on a Facebook page. They have been so amazing, so loving, and so giving. Even more, their workshops and retreats have helped me make legacy videos for my son, organize my pictures, write things for my son for the future as well as start doing estate planning, health care directives, POA, and more. I can't say enough good things about IOH, they are here to support people through the hardest times of our lives....I hope others do not need to use this resource, but I am forever thankful for all they do. I need this so much!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have stage iv breast cancer. It means that I am terminal. Covid has caused a lot of problems for my family, and I figured that IoH wouldn't be doing anything until covid was gone. But, to my surprise they did an e-retreat instead of a physical retreat. While I was unfortunately sick for the whole weekend and missed out on a lot of the activities; I did get to do family game night with my family and got to make a legacy video. I hope that I will get another chance to be apart of IoH. Here's a picture of my family minus me (I took the picture) during family game night.

1 Lisa A.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was such an important and amazing weekend for our family. Going through cancer is hard, going through cancer while raising a young family makes it even harder. We were able to connect with others in similar circumstances and it was nice to know we aren’t alone.

Alethea K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was great connecting with people in similar circumstances.

Kim H.11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I absolutely love this non profit. I was just diagnosed with a terminal cancer one year ago, so needless to say my emotions have been on a roller coaster. The entire staff and volunteers were so comforting and made me feel okay to be scared of what the future holds. My children felt loved and I thought it was wonderful that they were able to hang out with other kids their age that have parents dealing with similar issues. You will leave this retreat feeling so much love.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is making a life-changing impact in the lives of families facing terminal illness! 1 in 20 children will suffer the loss of a parent before age 16. Inheritance of Hope serves these children and their family in a profound way. Incredible volunteers, incredible staff/coordinators, and incredible board!

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope's mission is to inspire hope in young families facing the loss of a parent. Without question, they fulfill their mission! Statistics show that 1 in 20 children, 15 and younger, will suffer the loss of a parent. There is an incredible need and Inheritance of Hope uniquely serves these children and their families.

The organization's largest offering is its Legacy Retreat, an all-expenses-paid experience where families create lifelong memories and receive tools to navigate the challenges of a parent’s terminal illness. Inheritance of Hope also offers Legacy Scholarships, provides literature, and creates a community of support that is, in my mind, unparalleled. Families that attend a Legacy Retreat are forever changed. They believe that "Every Family Deserves a Legacy." I absolutely agree and it's why I support this outstanding organization.

I urge you to watch this video: http://youtu.be/3FwW08ASJGA

2 Ron MacGuyver C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

For myself and my family, Inheritance of Hope was and is a necessary and vital component to ensuring that my wife and children experience the true depths of my love for them. My experience was one of profound emotions that I had never realized were inside of me until the IoH retreat. As a true introvert, this was one of the most difficult journeys I have ever embarked upon in my life. To make new connections and form new relationships has never been my strong suit, and while I was completely out of my comfort zone, the realization that I don't need to do this alone was so cathartic for me. I am so grateful that we were welcomed with open arms and we all felt deeply cared for throughout our experience. I believe that the Inheritance of Hope organization is one of the true gems out there that truly cares for people regardless of personal faith or beliefs. We now feel as if we are a part of an extended family that supports and encourages each other.

1 Kim Knapp T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family had an amazing time with IoH in our eRetreat! We really appreciated the work that all the volunteers did & really loved the activities -it brought up thoughts & feelings that my family doesn't like to talk about, but are really necessary-and doing the Legacy Video was very hard but at the same time I'm so thankful that I did it!! It gave me lots of comfort knowing that I left this precious memory & now want to make many more on my own. Our family felt very loved and were glad to meet other families in the same boat as ours.

The Tibbets Family

2 Stephanie P.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is the most amazing organization! I feel like their offerings are unique and provide something that families likes our have a hard time providing for ourselves. Their mission statement is exactly what families in our situation need, and for many of us, something we may not have even known that we needed. Thank you so much Inheritance of Hope!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is an amazing non-profit organization. I loved all the time and attention given by the volunteers and staff. The e-retreat was such a great idea, I really enjoyed meeting the other families and seeing all the pictures and activities. I just want to thank them from my heart. It's the best and most helpful organization I have come across.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family was granted a legacy trip and we did the first virtual retreat due to covid-19. Even though it was over zoom my family had so much fun connecting with other families. We had a bunch of fun doing activities and even got to make a legacy video. I am so thankful for all the new friends we met. I would recommend this to any family who has a terminally ill parent with children. You won't regret it!

1 Tammy B.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing experience, well thought out and very creative to offer the best experience possible. We were supposed to go on a retreat to Orlando, however due to the pandemic the team created the most wonderful E Retreat. We were able to connect with many other families undergoing similar life circumstances as well as gain tools on how to navigate.

We are so very grateful for IOH.

Dwight S.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope is such an amazing organization, we have never seen such an out pouring of serving and selflessness. The volunteers made it extra special for a time like this in our lives. I would recommend anybody that has a chance to go, to absolutely do it! They not only catered to our physical needs, but also spiritual and mental well-being! I wish we were able to attend once a month. My adult daughter who was visiting us while we were there, has decided she also wants to be a volunteer with inheritance of hope because of their tremendous outpouring of selfless service and true compassion!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was the experience my family needed that we did not know we needed. We came back stronger, better, and closer. I will always be thankful to IOH.

1 Rich P.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my wife told me about the Inheritance of Hope program, it sounded too good to be true. "An all expenses paid vacation for our family? What's the catch?" The fact is ... this was true, and it was SO much more than a vacation. It was a transformative experience for our family. We returned from a three-day retreat in Orlando feeling enriched, inspired, and connected to an amazing network of people. Most importantly, we had a beyond amazing shared family experience that we'll never forget. The organizers and volunteers are attentive, responsible, and genuinely loving people. For three days, they took on our burdens so that we didn't have to think about them. It's a shame I can only give this group 5 stars because they deserve at least twice that many!!

Lucynda C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Inheritance of Hope Legacy trip to NYC meant the world to me and my family. My husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer almost 4 years ago. It has been 4 years of doctors visits, treatments, surgeries, and hospital stays. With all the stress and uncertainty, my family had lost a lot of the connection we used to enjoy. Through the purposeful sessions and activities, this trip changed all that. I watched my kids reconnect with each other and our entire family would sit in our hotel room and just talk over everything. This continues even to this day.

Also, our volunteers were incredible. I didn't have to worry about any detail no matter how small. They brought us breakfast every morning, carried our stuff, wheeled my husband all over Manhattan, and made sure our kids were enjoying themselves. We are forever grateful and will always hold a special place for Inheritance of Hope in our in our hearts.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have worked for and with many non-profits. This organization is by far on the top of my list. The staff, board of directors and volunteers are truly top notch. There are very little programs and services offered to families facing the loss of a parent due to a life threatening illness. It doesn’t matter the socio economic background of a family - illness of a parent takes a huge emotional toll on families - and especially kids. Every family deserves to feel supported and loved and that is exactly what Inheritance of Hope does. I highly recommend this organization and hope I can give back both monetarily and with service.

1 Jeremy P.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Is a fantastic group of folks. Very well organized and very considerate and caring of me and my family’s needs during our time there in New York City. I’m telling everyone I can about them. It was a terrific experience, very encouraging for my spouse snd I as well as my our children.

Laura S.15

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful retreat and vacation in NYC. They didn't miss a thing! It was unbelievably organized. The generosity and kindness was overwhelming. We are so thankful!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization provided our family with the most needed retreat. It is very difficult to find support for children who need help and relationships which understand that needed hope in facing the loss of a parent and their ongoing illness. They are completely organized and think of everything. I've never seen such thoughtfulness. For me, as the parent, it was amazing to watch the support and growth my children experienced. They arranged everything from wheelchair to counseling. I can't say enough good things about our experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We attended the 2019 retreat to NYC and were so impressed with how organized Inheritance of Hope was, but also the incredible people who make up their team. It was a privilege to be gifted with a trip by an organization that really cares about people.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over the top organization, such a well organized event, staffed with enthusiastic volunteers. We had an amazing visit, very touched by the content and people, I was a blubbering idiot by the end. I was touched by so many and met many incredible people. I highly recommend the Inheritance of Hope organization.

1 Dana G.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I believe that two of the most important gifts a family who lives under the persistent, horrific reality of the physical or emotional decline and ultimate death of a mother or father are an opportunity in the present to live, for a short while, without the constant worry and stress of the illness and the opportunity to create a tangible legacy to fortify those who will mourn the passing in the future. Inheritance of Hope (IoH), founded by Deric Milligan and his late wife Kristen, have been offering these gifts via the Legacy Retreat, an all expenses paid, four day holiday, to families like mine since 2007. My family was served in August 2019 at a the 38th IoH Legacy Retreat which took place in Orlando, FL.
I discovered IoH while scrolling through my Facebook feed, interested in finding a fall marathon that might fit my schedule. Team IoH provides charity runners the opportunity to participate in some truly bucket list races, including Big Sur, Chicago, NYC and the Marine Corps Marathon. While researching IoH as a nonprofit, I thought the Legacy Retreat could be perfect for my family and sold the idea to my wife, who has become even more of an introvert than me since her illness. The application was very straightforward and required only two additional items, a letter from her doctor confirming diagnosis and brief letters from her to our children and me. Honestly, she probably put the minimal effort required into the letters, but within a couple weeks after uploading the application, I received a call from an IoH family coordinator, Heidi, to congratulate us for being selected. We were offered a choice of which upcoming Legacy Retreat to attend. After choosing Orlando, Heidi and I communicated via email, phone and text to cement travel and lodging arrangements. Heidi’s primary concern was to ensure that my family’s needs and special medical requirements would be met. We chose to travel with a collapsible wheelchair, but once in Orlando exclusively used the ones IoH provided for each family. It was all very convenient.
IoH is run by a staff of some of the most amazing, positive, supportive people I have ever come across: Betsy, Jill, Mikki, Audra, Eric, Gina, Aaron and others I will not offend by misspelling their names. Deric, cofounder and CEO, has assembled a truly great team. If Deric is the brain and the staff the heart of IoH, the Volunteers, an especially organized and selfless group of individuals personally assigned to each family, sometimes in pairs or more depending on the size of the family, are the body without which the Legacy Retreat could not happen. These individuals pay out of pocket to spend four days babysitting snot nosed brats, pushing wheelchairs through amusement parks, playing personal assistant to sometimes crabby patients, listening to caregivers venting and many other generally considered unpleasant tasks. Like a lodestone, IoH attracts volunteers as special as their staff.
The retreat was scheduled from Friday through Monday, though we decided to add an extra day before and after. The extra day prior allowed us to arrive in Orlando and prepare for our first experience participating in a “cancer thing with a bunch of sick folk”. We were somewhat anxious and admittedly ignorant. Postponing your departure at least one day following the retreat is highly recommended if you can afford the time to take full advantage of Monday. More on that later...
So we arrived on Thursday, and though the start of the Retreat was the next day, Heidi came and met my family at dinner to say hello and verify there were no issues with travel or getting set up at the hotel. We stayed at the Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld during the entire trip. Choosing to stay two nights additional to the Retreat, did require us to assume the cost of those two nights, however, Heidi was able to get us their rate for those nights. IoH’s rate includes a pretty phenomenal buffet breakfast which usually costs around $34 per person. This is not your typical complimentary hotel breakfast. Definitely try the omelet made by retired Navy Chief Mess Specialist and make your own freshly squeezed carrot, celery, tomato or orange juice medley.
Friday is when most families arrive, and that was when our volunteers met us. Over these four days, Brian, father of three, and Marina, a child counselor, became family, but without the drama. My kids still miss them. My daughter submitted a photo of our family with them for her fourth grade classroom bulletin board. Brian and I text back and forth and there is still an outstanding challenge to run a race for IoH together next year.
Friday culminates in a dinner at the hotel for everyone serving or being served that includes plenty of fun. If you decide to retire early and your children still have energy to burn, your volunteers will gladly stay and deliver them to your room at a time of your choosing.
Saturday morning began with breakfast before attending your Legacy group. Adults are separated from children and children divided into age groups for roughly two hours. The counselors leading the children’s groups are very careful not to share anything parents may not wish them to regarding terminal illness, but rather focus on compartmentalizations and introducing methods to deal with stress and emotions. We were skeptical about the adult group at first, but it turns out most couples were, so before long we were all telling our stories as patients or caregivers, sharing as much or as little as we chose. There was never any pressure to speak. Thanks Jill.
At 11:00, we came together with our children and volunteers and made our way across the street to Seaworld. The time was ours until 4:00 when there was a photo planned for all participants outside Shamu stadium. Mikki, photographer extraordinaire, did a fantastic job getting us all together and getting a great shot.
After the photo, the volunteers stayed in the park with the children while the parents prepared for a dinner date night. We ate at the Bonefish Grill, where a special menu was provided. A long table was set up for the couples and we ended up sitting across from a wonderful couple from Colorado. Our prayers are with you Justin and Katie.
After dinner, time was set aside specifically to create each family’s Legacy Video. This event is the capstone of the retreat. There is no specific format or required content. It can be done by both parents or just the patient. One of the staff can act as a facilitator or you can have the room to yourself. The staff can provide ideas if you are unsure what types of things you may want to say. I would bet you could even exceed the 30 minute time limit if you needed. This is a very personal thing, and highly respected by the staff. In fact, IoH is is so all in on the value of this opportunity that they will keep a room set up for you if you are unable to make a video on Saturday. Thanks, Betsy.
Sunday morning was very similar to the day before, but this time the adult group sessions were split such that caregivers and patients were separate. This was one of the most profound parts of the retreat for me, to hear how other caregivers were or were not coping and share some of the things I’ve learned and learn from others.
After group sessions, we boarded a coach to Universal. Unfortunately, my wife was not feeling well and rested in the room for the day. She was not forgotten, however, and the IoH staff ensured that she had everything she needed, including lunch and a ride to join up with us at Universal if she started feeling better. Yes, I went with Brian, Marina and my children and tried to wash away the guilt with copious amounts of frozen butter beer and roller coasters. Two important things about Universal: your ticket is a two day ticket for both Universal and Islands of Adventure, so stay the extra day if you can, and IoH has made an arrangement with the park that will forever change your perspective in a great way.
What began a nightly routine on Friday in the vast hotel pool, rounds and rounds of Sharks & Minnows, with a small number of players, encompassed more than half the pool and close to 50 adults and children by Sunday night. I think we finally played our last round at around 10:30 that night. Jennie, Seaweed, you both did swimmingly.
After breakfast Monday, you will all go to the closing ceremony. After a short time, the children will leave the room. There will be tears. It was not a bad thing.
Once the closing ceremony is complete and you are reunited with your children, the Retreat is over and it is time to say goodbye. More tears. Again, not a bad thing. If you are leaving that day, your travel arrangements will have already been made. If you are staying, IoH provided a bus to Universal to spend another day enjoying the park. They also ensure the bus will be available for a return trip to the hotel at around 5:30. Stay the extra day, the arrangement with the park will still be in effect and it’s so worth it. My wife was able to make it to Universal on Monday.
Listen, I honestly thought that I was going to just carry on watching my wife die, getting my kids to counseling and sucking it all up everyday without ever taking advantage of any the “cancer perks” out there. It was too much effort while taking care of my family. Plus, I’m smart, I know what I need to do. I’m not really into talking with anyone. Remember when I mentioned I was ignorant?
If you are a parent who is a patient suffering with a terminal illness or a caregiver, go to https://inheritanceofhope.org/retreats.html and apply for a retreat.
The vision of Deric and Kristen, made reality by the phenomenal staff and volunteers at Inheritance of Hope, to allow my family a much needed timeout from cancer and the opportunity to create a Legacy Video, the true value of which is beyond words. Thank you Inheritance of Hope for everything.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing! It gave us hope that we never realized we needed. When a family is faced with a serious illness, that news can reek havoc on a family. Inheritance of Hope is filled with dedicated individuals who are gifted in helping your family see past the pain to view the light! Forever grateful, the Law family - Orlando Retreat 2019.

Shantika J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This orginaztion has allowed me to make everlasting memories with my loved ones while battling a terminal illness. They sent us on an all expense paid retreat while pampering us helping us not to focus on the disease but on family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served at Inheritance of Hope's Legacy Retreats for years, and the North Carolina retreat was awesome! It's so fun to see the IoH Family growing and making memories at new places like the Biltmore mansion and a trampoline park!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thought it would be weird to tell a stranger how I felt and what my fears and dreams were. I thought it would feel weird to tell them my deepest darkest fears. But the words just fell out of my mouth. I laid a lot of things out there. To my surprise, I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone in the fear of speaking them and I wasn’t alone in the fear of how they’d be received. In the end, these people I thought I’d never see again brought me a new feeling of hope. A new feeling of peace. A new feeling of companionship. I didn’t feel alone at all. I felt warm and loved. When you are forced to think about your death, you really gain a sense of compassion for others and respect for their wishes. What you don’t think about is being happy in these moments. I learned a lot from each of them and what that happiness might look like. I saw so many smiles and so many tears all in the same moments. I watched a young mom cry her first day because she had to leave her son for a bit. She was fearful. By the end, I saw that disappear. I saw a woman with teenagers who were thriving even though she thought they may not be. I saw children talk to adults about “getting better”. I saw comfort from complete strangers. I saw so much pure genuine kindness and love. It truly was a sight to see! I never knew that coming on this trip would bring me a whole new set of family. I never thought I’d see my family discuss anything with anyone because they’ve all been hoping for the best. And while that’s great, you have to get it out. It was great to see them do that. Having cancer is not all doom and gloom people. It’s just a phase of my life I have to go through. I don’t stop living. I don’t stop loving. I don’t stop doing. I don’t stop fighting. What I do is be intentional with my time and energy. As long as I remember that, I’ll be okay. What IOH gave me is comfort in knowing that even if my time gets cut short, there are still things I can do to be here. And in the meantime, LIVE baby, LIVE!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family was fortunate enough to attend the NC Asheville retreat and it was a memorable event for our whole family. The volunteers & staff were friendly, helpful & welcoming people. This trip beyond exceeded our expectations and helped us create lifelong memories together.

Client Served

Rating: 3

For me it all started with the layovers from the airport, I’m going through treatment and my energy levels are very low and my feet are in intense pain so the extra walking and changing planes was to me very stressful. I feel like a flight from Boston to South Carolina should not include a layover in New York. Nor a flight from South Carolina to Boston all the same. I know it sounds like I’m complaining but when I read the letters from other families that were served one of the things said quite often was the fact that this foundation Spared no expense and not one detail was missed. But I’m sorry for me it just continued to get a little worse. We are a family of five and when we finally arrived at the hotel we were surprised to walk into a room with just two full size beds. Now I understand that most hotels have Cots you can use for a small fee or just asking for one. So we asked our Volunteer to ask the front desk if we could use one and when he returned with an air mattress and fabrication that this particular hotel does not offer cots because it’s a fire hazard. I accepted his reasoning and we tried to sleep through what ended up being a very tough night. For the most part I’m a strong believer in first impressions and this was not a good one in my opinion. I later found out that other families asked the front desk and received cots with no issues. The next day started off very early considering the day before. The kids enjoyed playing and the arts and crafts that they did in fact my kids had lots of fun throughout the entire trip which is one of the reasons we gave the three stars.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Could not ask for a more amazing group of staff and volunteers. IoH is the real deal! An incredible group that provides once-in-a-lifetime trips to families who are dealing with the terminal illness of a parent. The friendships we formed, the tools we gained, and the memories we made will last a lifetime.

Tessa Musillami M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family was served by Inheritance Of Hope in April 2019. This is a top-notch organization. Their volunteers were incredible and I am missing them dearly. IOH provided our family with community, legacy tools, and precious memories. We are so appreciative for IOH. We plan to volunteer for them in the future and spread the hope.

Sean D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing trip for our family, amazing people who coordinated absolutely everything for us every step of the way! Memories were made that will last our lifetime and IOH went out of their way to make sure of that.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wanted to thank all inheritance of hope family , for all kindness and all the good memories that they made me and my family! And as if they were emptying some burdens of my shoulders.
Thank you Deric again for all your support.

Best,
Marjan, David, Evan

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Recently IOH took our family with them to Orlando for an all inclusive trip to universal studios and sea world. There were about 35 families who are dealing with terminal cancer. Each of these families have children who are under the age of 18. The weekend was about coming together and discussing how to prepare for the loss of your loved one. Adults were in small group sessions and the children were in a large group. Even though it is a hard topic to talk about, there were professional counselors and volunteers who knew how to moderate the discussions to be beneficial and less awkward. There were professional photographers who took many wonderful pictures. There was even a video session where we were able to film a message for our son, which was a great experience.
We were cared for and the foundation was always very compassionate.
We definitely are very grateful to have been served by this wonderful foundation.
Nina and Mark Lukenich

Angie S.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an experience!!! Honestly, hands down, the BEST experience of my life (and I've had some pretty great times!). I don't even know if I can put into words how amazing it was, but I will try.

IOH is an organization that provides all expenses paid "vacations" to families with children facing the loss of a parent. Ours was in Orlando and we went to Universal, Islands of Adventure, and Sea World. Each child & family has a volunteer that is with them, I cannot explain how wonderful that is. Our volunteer Meredith was amazing. She connected with our family immediately! She happily took care of everything for us from being with our daughter to carrying our bags to arranging early busses when I was completely wiped out to capturing precious family memories for us so we could stay "in the moment". Basically all we had to do was just be and enjoy ourselves. God knows we needed that!

"Vacation" does not begin to describe our experience. Everyone at IOH is now family and I honestly feel that in my heart. We spent each morning in our couples group while Lex & Meredith were in their kid group. We shared "our story" with our group and we all connected immediately as we quickly realized we were not alone in our struggles & fears. I still can't believe this but my husband participated just as much as I did!!! We shared laughs and hugs and tears and fears that some of us haven't said aloud let alone to anyone. While I am still in the same situation as I was before in that I have a terminal illness, I feel so much more at peace than I was before. IOH gave us so incredibly much more than a "vacation". They gave us connections to others and we can help each other through this in a way that others just can't do. They gave us tools and ideas for things we can do now to keep us connected to our families long after we're gone. I had the opportunity to make a professional grade Legacy video for my kids that I know will help them heal should something happen to me. And that is just the beginning of what I'll be able to leave for them to help them whenever they need to feel their mommy's love. For that alone I am eternally grateful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was the best experience of my life! My family and I are so very grateful to the Inheritance of Hope organization for this amazing opportunity. We were able to connect with other families going through similar trials. The counselors and volunteers helped tremendously. This was definitely a life-changing experience that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We made memories and learned how to leave a legacy. I hope my family will be able to serve other families during future retreats and pay it forward.

Aisha T.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was one of the best week's of our family life! We will be forever grateful for the memories created here. We had extraordinary support from the moment our application was accepted until the moment we got home from the trip! They just loved on us and made our family a part of the IoH family! They filled our hearts with joy, inspiration, and love! My three children will forever have the keepsakes of this retreat and know that no matter what happens with their dad's health, they are loved by so many people and are a part of a legacy bigger than themselves! I would recommend this trip to any family going through the journey of having a parent with a terminal illness. Each member of the family is lovingly spoiled and cared for!

Maria Gell

Client Served

Rating: 5

Inheritance of Hope at Orlando was the most amazing experience that gave me the opportunity to meet and share my story with other people that are going through the same situation. All the staff treated us with kindness, patience, and generosity. Their commitment is truly heart-warming. It’s great to know that people other than you care about the times you’re going through and share the same pain. We’re so grateful to be included in the big family of IoH!

Rebekah C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I had the privilege to attend an Inheritance of Hope retreat this past February. It was an absolutely Amazing experience!!!
We could hardly believe that this retreat was going to be everything they claimed it would be. We were excited and nervous waiting to go on the trip, unsure of how it would go. A little concerned I wouldn't be able to manage so much activity.
There was no reason for concern or reservations. It was So Much More than we could've dreamed it would be!
From the moment we met our volunteers we were so well taken care of. They were so sweet and really made us feel at ease.
I was worried my 3 year old would have separation anxiety and get upset about being with a stranger. But as soon as he met Tony, one of our volunteers, he was instantly attached and happy to go along with him. Even started calling him pawpaw (grandpa).
Tony and Kara went above and beyond any expectation we had.
I needed to use a wheelchair through most of the parks. They pushed me without complaint or even letting on how tired they Must have been.
They were fun, kind, and so patient with our family.
The retreat made dreams come true. We got experiences and memories as a family, that we never thought we'd get a chance to do. An incredible blessing! We'll forever be thankful.
When they say welcome to the IOH family, its not just a phrase that’s thrown out. They truly mean what they say.
We did gain family. The hardest part was saying goodbye to these people we just met, but fell completely in love with.
I want to give special thanks to Tony, Kara, Anette, Betsy, Sheena, and Tom. They all played a part of making this trip extra special. All took a piece of our hearts.
A huge Thank You to Kendra Scott for your support by partnering with IOH. You are so sweet and down to Earth. Love your hugs! And that extra touch of care from you and your team.
The biggest Thank You to Derrick Milligan and everyone at IOH for the amazing, inspiring work you do to support families like mine. Thank you doesn't even seem like enough. Through all of you, prayers were answered, dreams came true, and priceless memories were made. And we're just 1 family served.
I would urge any family who qualifies to apply, and take advantage of this opportunity. You won't regret it!
And anyone who is able to give, and looking for the right organization to support, This Is It!!

2 Rosa Novello H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing. We felt so cared for during our retreat. It was more then we could have ever expected. The kindness and generosity that was shown to us by the organizers and the volunteers was beyond amazing. Our Legacy Retreat with IOH was life changing.

Dawn Leslie J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Everything in the universe came together perfectly for me to find Inheritance of Hope, be able to attend the retreat, meet some of the best people ever, and now continue those friendships. This amazing program allowed me and my children to make some awesome memories that we would have never been able to otherwise. It meant so much to me to be able to interact with others that knew exactly what I’m going through and my kiddos were able to learn some coping skills and have a lot of fun doing so. We were cared for and made to feel special and it was a breath of fresh air to have four marvelous days of not having to worry about anything!! Inheritance of Hope has inspired me to want to do more and help others be able to experience this same joy! Thank you a million times IoH!!!!